Gunnedah Water Tower Museum


The Water Tower Museum is housed in an old water tower that was originally built in 1908 and was the first water reservoir to be constructed in Gunnedah. The museum has a large display of memorabilia, artifacts and archives with four floors and an observation deck. A feature of the museum is the mural paintings on the second floor which captures the very early Aboriginal and European history of the district.

The Water Tower Museum is the permanent home of the Gunnedah and District Historical Society Inc. Sited in Anzac Park, near the Memorial Swimming Pool, the building has an interesting history.  The reservoir remained in service until the late 1950′s when it was eventually replaced by a new steel reservoir that had been erected nearby. In 1968 work began to convert the old water tower into a unique home for the Historical Society’s collection of documents and articles. The result of this conversion is a basement, three display floors and an observation deck.

The Gunnedah and District Historical Society was formed in 1963 at a public meeting held in the old Council chambers.  The meeting was called by Alderman Frank O’Keefe who was then mayor of Gunnedah.  Gunnedah Municipal Council supported the Society by providing an initial home for the collection in the rear of the new Elgin Street Council Chambers and has continued to support the society throughout the years.

Around this time the late Russell McDonagh, a notable local historian, had bequested his historical collection to the Society along with the donation of £167 to purchase a place to house his bequest.  The McDonagh Papers still remain the most prized possession of the Society.

By late 1967 after three years of searching for a new home to house the growing collection, the old water tower was selected as the site for a new museum.  Work began on Saturday, 3rd August 1968. Twelve years later, on 3 May 1980, the Water Tower Museum opened to the public.

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Society Officers

President: Bob Leister

Secretary: Marie Hobson

Treasurer: Alan Barker

Family Historian: Shirley Coote

Web Master: Colin Rosewell




0427 422118
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Entry Fees

Adults: $5
Concession: $4
Children (5-15): $1

Getting There
Anzac Park, South Street

Opening Hours

10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Other days and times by appointment.

9:30 am to 11:30 am
Open most Monday mornings. Society meetings at the Museum on third Monday of each month


The Water Tower Museum has a range of publications available for purchase including:

The Final Curtain - The stories of over 800 people who have contributed to Gunnedah & District - Ron McLean (2018)

In The Line Of Fire – Gunnedah and District’s role in the Great War - Ron McLean (2015)

Gunnedah’s Lost Folks – Burials at Gunnedah’s Hunter Street Cemetery - Shirley Coote (2013)

Gunnedah & District Lost Folks - District burials at villages and properties -  Shirley Coote (2008)


Searchable Publications

Some publications have been converted to electronic format and are fully searchable at the museum:

Centenary - Gunnedah Centenary (1856-1956) - John Longmuir (ed.) (1956)

A Century of Progress - A history of local government in Gunnedah and district 1885-1985 - Gunnedah Shire Council (1985)

Curlewis School Centenary - Curlewis Centenary Committee (1985)

The Way We Were – Sesquicentenary of Gunnedah 1856-2006 - Ron McLean (2006)

In The Line Of Fire – Gunnedah and District’s role in the Great War - Ron McLean (2015)

District War Memorials and Honour Rolls

Our database contains 4,458 records of names found on 23 War Memorials and Honour Rolls in Gunnedah and district.


The museum has a large collection of historical records comprising newspapers, maps, personal papers, records of local businesses and organisations.

Museum volunteers can assist with research at $10 / hour plus photocopies at 50c / A4 page and $1 / A3 page.

A large collection of photographs are being scanned with about 4,000 completed. Digital copies of photographs may be purchased at $5 each. Black and white photocopy-quality prints are available at the photocopy prices above.